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The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

July 14, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Pentecost

Passage: Luke 10:25–10:37

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 10:25-37
Date: July 14th, 2019; Pentecost 5; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • A lawyer stood up to put Jesus to the test asking, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
  • There are many answers to this question, aren’t there?  
  • In fact, the many religions of the world seek to answer (or claim to answer) this very question.  
  • So much time, energy, and resources have been spent on this question.    
  • Wars have even been fought over it. 
  • Scholars, theologians, philosophers, have spent the majority of their lives working on this question and libraries of books have been written on the topic.  
  • Even within Christendom there is much debate and discussion.  
  • In fact, this question was at the very core of the Reformation back in the 16th Century.
  • I would suggest that there is absolutely nothing more important than having the answer to this question.
  • “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  
  • Fortunately, God has given us the gift of an answer to this most important question.  
  • He has revealed it to us.  
  • In fact, God in the flesh was directly asked this question and God in the flesh directly answered it.
  • As good teachers often do, Jesus answered the lawyer’s question with a question of his own.  He asked, “What is written in the Law?”   
  • The lawyer (being an expert in the Law) correctly answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.”
  • Jesus told the lawyer he was right, “Do this, and you will live” he said.
  • There it is.  
  • The answer to the most important question we could ever ask is so simple – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.”
  • Love God with everything that you are and love your neighbour as yourself - and eternal life is yours.  
  • I suppose Jesus’ answer to the lawyer’s question isn’t all that surprising.  
  • It really isn’t any different than what all of the other religions in the world say too - they all teach “be devoted to god, live a good and holy life, and you will be rewarded with heaven.”     
  • So there it is.  Simple.  
  • But, it isn’t that simple, is it?
  • Sure, it might sound easy to be completely devoted to God - but it’s a lot more difficult to actually do.
  • We end up being more devoted to the cares of this life than we are to God.
  • We end up loving our ways more than God’s ways.
  • We end up loving ourselves more than we love him.  
  • Then there is our neighbour.  
  • Sure, it might sound easy to love our neighbour as we love ourselves, but it’s a lot more difficult to actually do.
  • Now, the neighbours who bring over the pies and cookies, the ones who share the same interests as you, the ones who you get along with – those neighbours are a bit easier to love.
  • But the ones who get on your nerves, the ones who get in your way, the ones you disagree with – those ones are far more difficult to love.
  • And what about our neighbours around the world who don’t have the basic necessities of life?  
  • We love ourselves enough to get what we need – what about them? 
  • When we give this a bit of thought, when we look into the mirror of God’s Law - we find that Jesus’ simple answer of “do this and eternal life is yours” - is really not so simple at all.
  • This is the lesson that our Lord taught the lawyer in our Gospel reading for this morning - and it’s the lesson he teaches all of us too.
  • How confident would you be if your eternal life was based on how well you loved God above all things and on how well you loved your neighbour as yourself?  
  • Lord, have mercy.
  • We are told that the lawyer desired to justify himself and asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?” 
  • Jesus answered the lawyer’s second question with a story, commonly known as the parable of the Good Samaritan.  
  • Often this parable is misunderstood and is taught only as an example for us to follow.
  • The emphasis is on Jesus’ command, “You go, and do likewise.”  
  • And we should!  As God’s people, we should follow the example of the Samaritan and do acts of love and compassion for our neighbour.
  • But there is far more to this story than just a command to be nice to people.
  • Here is another take on this parable of the Good Samaritan.
  • Again, we heard, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead."  
  • This beaten man lying half dead is us.  
  • The devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh have mugged us and have left us for dead on the side of the road. 
  • “Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.  So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.”  
  • The Priest and the Levite are the law.  The law requires us to help ourselves.  
  • There is nothing in the law that will step forward and help us.  
  • If we can't keep the law perfectly on our own, then it condemns us to eternal death. 
  • “But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.'” 
  • The Samaritan is none other than Jesus Christ himself.  
  • He generously applies the oil of his righteous life and the wine of his own blood. 
  • Jesus then takes us to the inn of the church that our souls may be cared for.  
  • He has left his Word, Holy Baptism, Confession and Absolution, and the Lord's Supper with the inn of the church.  
  • He has given his pastors instructions to distribute these means of grace to tend to the well being of all those who have been mugged and beaten up by sin.  
  • And finally, the Day will come when our Good Samaritan, Jesus Christ, will return to make all things right.  
  • Sin, death, and the devil will no longer bother us because they will be gone for good.  
  • And just as Jesus rose from the dead in an immortal body, we too shall rise from the dead - never to die again. 
  • “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”  
  • This is wrong question.  
  • The right question is to ask “What has God done for us to give us eternal life?"
  • Our only hope is the Gospel of our Good Samaritan, Jesus Christ.  
  • If we want to live by the law - then we are the Good Samaritan in this story.  
  • If we want to live by the Gospel - then Jesus is our Good Samaritan.
  • Only he can rescue us and bring us healing.  Only he offers us forgiveness, salvation, and the gift of eternal life.  
  • Having received the love, mercy, and compassion of our Good Samaritan, we then are free to “go and do likewise”.  How blessed we are!  Amen.    
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

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